Assessments: Learning Disabilities

Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities

An accurate diagnosis is necessary in order to distinguish a learning disability from other potential causes of the presenting problems.

Assessments are Recommended for Students who:

  • Are often told they need to “work harder” to succeed
  • Do not seem to be performing at the expected level
  • Have difficulty with reading or remembering what they read
  • Have trouble staying focused in class or when doing homework
  • Show a marked change in behavior or attitude about school
  • Take much longer than expected to complete homework, reading or tests
  • Feel overwhelmed by academic responsibilities, expectations and pressure
  • Get frequent headaches, stomach aches or other unexplained symptoms
  • Have more problems with planning, organization and time management than peers

Comprehensive Psycho-educational Assessments

As with any health or performance concern, an accurate diagnosis is critical for developing an accurate treatment plan, or for learning disabilities, an “education plan.” For students with no previous diagnosis of a learning disability, a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment generally includes:

• Thorough intake interview

• Review of developmental, medical, social and educational history

• Testing of cognitive abilities such as auditory & visual processing

• Tests of intellectual strengths and weaknesses and overall ability

• Cognitive testing of achievement in major subject areas

• Evaluation of problem-solving and reasoning skills

• Measures of attention and other executive skills

• Additional tests as needed to evaluate overall health and well-being

Assessment Report

Once the evaluation is complete, a thorough written report is provided to the parents or adult student. Included in the report are test scores, diagnostic conclusions, referrals and recommendations. Academic accommodations may be recommended when appropriate.

Update Evaluations / Re-certifications

Students who were previously diagnosed often need to provide updated information to schools or physicians. Prior to conducting an update assessment, Dr. McPhee will review previous reports, academic interventions and accommodations to determine what new testing is required. A complete battery of tests is not always necessary for updated evaluations.